Even before the Tom Cruise starrer series of movies based on Jack Reacher hit theaters, the character was quite popular among readers due to the straightforward yet captivating appeal of the series creator Lee Child’s novels. Grant had somewhat liked the portrayal of Reacher on the silver screen but chose to push the boundaries of a more accurate interpretation of the character by going through the OTT route, and the result was Amazon Prime’s surprise hit series Reacher. After proving itself to be a refreshing addition to the streaming service’s directory of action-crime genre contents through a taut first season, Reacher has returned with a second one, and the first three episodes of the season do a remarkable job of capturing the viewer’s attention with fast-paced storytelling and action.
Based on the eleventh novel of the Jack Reacher series, Bad Luck and Trouble, the second season of Reacher revolves around a deadly conspiracy that makes Reacher revisit his past life in the military police and lets us have a closer look at a new dimension of the character: as a friend and as a leader. There are really no plotlines that get carried forward to the second season, which means viewers can enjoy this one on its own without worrying about continuity.
How Did Reacher Learn About The Attack On His 110th Unit Members?
The first episode of the season begins with a brutal murder, as a man is thrown to his death by a chopper hovering several thousand feet above the ground in the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains near New York. The opening scene conveys the dread and highlights the tone of the series quite similarly to what the opening of the first season did through the murder of Pete Jobling.
The scene shifts to a small town in Arkansas, where Jack Reacher is seen in a thrift store buying used clothes. Of course, living a vagrant life like he does, possessing any belongings is out of the question, and the only option to change clothes is buying. Running out of cash, Reacher goes to the nearest ATM machine and quickly realizes the woman ahead in line is being forced to withdraw money under someone’s command. After identifying the perp just by looking around his surroundings, Reacher does a number on him, knocking him out cold and saving the lady’s kid in the process, who was being held captive. Later, as he checks his withdrawal receipt from the ATM, Reacher notices a familiar emergency signal conveyed through a coded transaction and calls his colleague or friend, Frances Neagley, whom he deduces to have sent him the signal in the first place. Frances informs Reacher about the death of their friend and colleague from the 110th unit, Calvin Franz, the same person who was killed during the opening sequence of the episode, prompting Reacher to arrive in New York. Reacher surmises that Franz was brutalized before his death by fall, making him consider the possibility of an old enemy to be plausible in the scenario.
In several flashback sequences spanning three episodes, we learn that during his tenure as a major in military police, Reacher formed the 110th MP unit of special investigators, consisting of rookie and veteran army colleagues: Neagley, Dixon, O’Donnell, Sanchez, Swan, Franz, Orozco, and Lowery. Despite initial disagreements among the members, they came together under Reacher’s leadership and formed a strong, memorable bond with each other. As Reacher learns about Franz’s murder, he gradually comes to terms with the fact that, in pursuit of his nomadic lifestyle, he has strayed way too far from the lives of his friends. In the process of catching up with Neagley, Reacher gets to know that most of his unit members can’t be contacted with and that Franz was pursuing a particular case that he wanted assistance with. Reaching Franz’s consulting office, Neagley and Reacher find it to be ransacked, which they assume to be the handiwork of the assailants who murdered him. As the duo manages to gather Franz’s mailbox belongings, they find a hard drive that might contain some confidential details regarding the case Franz had mentioned.
What Did The Team Find In Atlantic City?
As Reacher and Neagley return to their hotel in New York, they find it to be ransacked by someone, presumably by Franz’s assailants. Surprisingly, they find one of their unit members, O’Donnell, in their room, who has rushed to the city to meet them after learning about Franz’s tragic fate. As Neagley tries to access Franz’s hard drive, it turns out to be time-sensitive password-protected, and after fumbling a couple of times, the trio manages to bypass the security, which reveals particular numbers and multiple aliases of a person with the initials A.M. The trio decides to pay another unit member, Swan, a visit to seek help regarding the situation, but finds his house to be long abandoned. The clues indicate that Swan has met the same fate as Franz, and it is now evident that unit 110 of special investigators is being hunted down one by one.
All the while, Reacher and his colleagues were being followed by two different parties, one being NYPD Detective Russo, who is investigating Franz’s murder case, and the other being a hitman sent by a certain Shane Langston, owner of a tech firm named New Age Technology, who has been assigned the task of killing the group. There is a fun easter egg as Saropian, the hitman, informs Langston about Neagley booking a hotel in New York using the alias Sarah Conner. With Robert Patrick (Langston) having played the iconic role to T-1000 in “Terminator 2”, the deliberate mention of Sarah Conner was funny to say the least. the iconic lead of the franchise, was a fun Reacher spots Russo a couple of times trailing the team, and mistakenly considering him to be guilty of Franz’s murder, he unloads a couple of jabs to knock him out. After learning Russo’s identity, the group decides to lay low for a while and travel to Atlantic City to check on two members of the unit, Orozco and Sanchez. En route, they come across unit member Dixon, who joins in the investigation as well. The team arrives in Atlantic City and visits Orozco’s place, only to find it trashed similarly to Franz’s office. They track down Orozco’s lover and learn that he had mentioned a significant sum of money repeatedly before leaving once and for all.
After retiring from the army, Orozco and Sanchez worked as security detail at one of the casinos in Atlantic City, where the team visited next to find a possible connection with the mentioned sum of money. The casino owner offers his assistance and allows the team to crash for a day, and the second episode slows down a bit to explore the relationship dynamics among the characters. Reacher and Dixon rekindle their feelings for each other as they reminisce about the days gone. However, the hitman sent by Langston attacks the duo along with a couple of henchmen of his own, and all three of them die brutally at the hands of Reacher. Searching through the belongings of the hitman, the team learns about a possible connection with New Age Technologies in New York, and the next day they are informed about the murder of Sanchez and Orozco, done in a similar fashion of brutalizing and throwing out of a chopper.
What Did Reacher Find Out About The Killings Of His 110th Unit?
Meanwhile, the aforementioned person known so far as A.M. turns out to be in cahoots with Langston, and by forging IDs, creating aliases, and eliminating loose ends in quick succession, he gradually makes his move. As Reacher and his team return to New York, Russo tracks them down and arrests Reacher, and a heated discussion regarding the investigation of Franz’s death follows at the police station between Russo and Reacher in O’Donnell’s presence. Eventually, as the two parties come to an agreement regarding sharing case details with each other, Reacher informs Russo about the mysterious A.M.’s possible role in the murders, which Russo’s information corroborates as a terrorist weapon dealer with the same initials is one of the supposed suspects in the case. Russo plans to nab a certain individual matching the provided information and the initials, but A.M. becomes aware of the trap and escapes.
Dixon and Neagley reach New Age Technology to inquire about the hitman’s connection, and Langston directs them to his address, all the while setting up an ambush there in the form of armed henchmen. However, predicting the ambush, Reacher and the team come prepared and kill all the henchmen, and Reacher further confirms his suspicion of New Age being the orchestrator of the assault. Russo confronts the team about their reckless act and repeatedly warns them to refrain from acting carelessly, but soon as he leaves, Reacher takes his team to hit New Age Technology HQ in order to steal every bit of information and proof—digital or otherwise. As the episode comes to a close, Reacher finds proof inside the tech firm building, which indicates their friend, Swan, was involved with the company all along and has presumably faked his death as well.
The first three episodes of the second season have allowed the series to get a strong, galloping pick-up, and the efficiently built central mystery has turned out to be as engaging as it is entertaining. The first season of the series became memorable due to the strong cast, and it seems the same can be said for the second season so far as well. The two-antagonist formula might work better than expected considering the impact Robert Patrick and Ferdinand Russell have left through their brief appearances already. Also, there is a noticeable increase in action sequences compared to the first season, and the team dynamics are a new, refreshing addition, which we hope to see explored more. To sum up, it can be said that the second season of Reacher has the potential to surpass the preceding one, and it needs to carry the momentum created by the first three episodes forward to do so.